Long before the #MeToo movement swept our culture, actress Robin Givens received widespread backlash for accusing Mike Tyson of domestic abuse. But despite the criticism, the Riverdale star said she believes her story set the foundation for the other women to tell their stories.
"I would like to believe that I'm a better person for it, and more compassionate, and more loving,” the actress said on Wednesday's episode of the Wendy Williams Show.
The titular host pointed out that Givens was one of the first female celebrities to speak about domestic violence.
"Somebody told me what you said, somebody said, 'You were like ground zero of #MeToo,'" Given told Wendy. "I pray that anything I've gone through, however difficult it was for me, helped somebody else."
The 53-year-old actress filed to divorce Tyson in February 1988, just eight months after they tied the knot. Givens would later claim that Tyson threatened to kill her and would regularly become violent. As previously noted, many fans sided with the boxer, insisting Givens was lying and simply trying to take his money. Wendy went on to ask the actress why she chose to say in the relationship so long despite her fears.
"I think sometimes as people, women—perhaps men experience the same thing—you have a hard time sticking up for yourself, but it's easier to stick up for people you love," she explained. "I remember being at our house in New Jersey in a closet off the kitchen and we were all in the closet, four of us hiding [from Tyson]; and I remember my sister bawling saying, 'How long are you gonna put us all through this?'"
Givens said it was that moment that pushed her to finally leave Tyson.
Tyson, who once admitted to Oprah that he had "socked" Givens, was sentenced to six years in prison about three years after the divorce was finalized. The athlete was convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington, Miss Black Rhode Island, in a hotel room.
You can watch the full interview above.